War and Peace on Earth
“Phil, you’re not gonna believe this, but . . .”
That’s how it started. A Yank spinning a dit about what happened to him one Christmas Eve.
Vietnam. Trapped in an ambush. Out in the boonies. Pinned down. Suddenly a chopper.
A fat special ops colonel with three days of white stubble shouting orders.
The pilot, Warrant Officer Rudolph, sitting on his damn chicken plate.
A sharpshooter named Donner popping caps on a Charlie position.
Everyone on board. Rudolph lights up a red bubblegum machine rigged to the Huey’s nose. We lift off.
Shit. Happened to me, too.
A little background:
A friend and comrade, now sadly gone, maintained that war stories all start in bars. And they begin in one of two ways:
“You guys aren’t going to believe this, but . . .”Or:
“No shit, you guys. . .”
Christmas and war have a strange synergy that produces sights, sounds and events that are prone to growing with the telling. And memorable Christmas stories seem to come out of every war. Some are mundane, while others are funny, dark, poignant, or all of the above at once. But some are downright strange and defy explanation.
|A Bell UH-1E over Vietnam. Christmas 1970. Photo: USMC.|
Different versions of “War and Peace on Earth” circulated back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I took the most common elements and combined them for the one hundred words that appear above. It's my way of paying tribute to anyone who’s ever had to spend Christmas in a trench, foxhole or hooch.
Now go on over to Loren Eaton’s blog I Saw Lightning Fall and enjoy even more proof that Christmas can be bookoo dinky dau.